Friday, November 18, 2011

Fukushima, Japan’s Happiest Nuclear Power Plant

Fukushima, Japan’s Happiest Nuclear Power Plant

[Hu's on First | Nuclear Crisis]
The Wall Street Journal noticed this futuristic documentary on the history of the Fukushima nuclear plant from 1985. It looks like the Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds episodes I watched as a kid, and it’s impressive to see how it was all put together and run, and evolve from the first paper teletypes to the PC’s of the 1980s. Here is the original Japanese posting from: (1985 27min) In 1966, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) started construction of this nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. This movie explained the mechanism of nuclear electric power generation, and the procedure of construction of the power plant. Many Japanese people visited the movie theater to watch this movie at that time. This movie was digitized by the support of Saitama Culture Promotion Grant. This movie was kindly provided by Science Film Museum for free ( I have personally obtained permission of the head of the museum, to upload this video . If someone can translate this film to any language, please feel free to do so. We truly appreciate your cooperation.
And here is somebody that put english subtitles in it:
1985 Movie: Fukushima, The Happiest Nuclear Power Plant in Japan
Part 2
Some highlights:
* unbelievable attention paid to safety!
* built on sturdy land, built three times stronger than a normal building to withstand earthquakes easily.
* containment built of two meter thick concrete (thank goodness that’s holding the molten mass of uranium there now!)
* pressure vessel made from 16 cm sheets heated to a moldable temperature. (that’s what the uranium burned through)
* Fukushima is a thriving , healthy community (now a ghost town)

Making Sense of Ruined Reactor Pictures

Here is an excellent attempt at figuring out what is in the pictures. The main new thing I noticed is the that two big black bars across the tangled mess that is now the roof of #3 are the overhead crane. I can now see the round “manhole” shape which seems to indicate the concrete plugs disintegrated, no sign of the big yellow cap reactor cap, that might mean even if the pressure cooker pressure vessel is somehow there, the containment is open to the air on top, which would be very, very bad. TEPCO is supposedly sure the reactor core is fine, but if the meters in unit 1 were useless, #3 is in MUCH worse shape, we have no idea if they have any way to confirm their statements

New Unbelievable Pictures of Fukushima

based on this house of oust website
Thermal images: 1 shows heat mostly around reactor core. 2 just shows a hot roof. 3 shows a hot fuel pool and reactor core, maybe the equipment pool on right side, but that corner of the floor is collapsed on the upper right corner.
Thermal images
Thermal images
Here’s an attempt to match up features of wreck of unit 3 with nice schematic painting:
Matching up wreck of #3 with diagram
Matching up wreck of #3 with diagram
This photo analysis picks out collapsed overhead crane on top of reactor well which is producing steam from the overheated reactor core. If it’s not deliberately vented, that means it’s like opening the valve on the pressure cooker. The well lies between the fuel pool and the equipment pool, and is not supposed to be flooded. If that’s the edge of the fuel or equipment pool, all the water is gone, also BAD BAD BAD.
Steam from #3
Steam from #3


source The “cattle chute” is a channel to move fuel rods from the pool into the reactor in the center. That seems to be where the steam is coming from, perhaps leakage from the pool into the reactor core. The reactor and pools take up the east half of the floor with the fuel pool to the south and pool for equipment that has to be removed from above the rods to the north.
Schematic of floor layout from above, West is up

| SS          CCC   XX|
| SS          CCC   XX|
| FFFF  RR  EEEE  ?? |
| FFFF  RR  EEEE      |
F= fuel pool
R= rector well
E= equipment pool
C= yellow reactor cap unit 4
S= fuel transfer crane shaft
T= truck entry first level
X= demolished unit 3

Crane and refueling platform is over fuel pool in unit 4
Crane appears to be over reactor well in unit 3.
Crane runs on rail between top 2 "squares", it is covered
  with debris on unit 1, collapsed in unit 3, looks fine but probably
  damaged beyond repair in unit 4. It is needed to
  a) move fuel cask from ground to fueling floor
  b) remove concrete "manhole cover" plug
  c) remove reactor cap
  d) remove pressure vessel head
  e) remove equipment above fuel
  It would take months to install a new crane if there were NO
  radiation. It is probably impossible to replace this crane unless
  you build a giant ramp and drive up a big wheeled crane to the
  "new roof".

Bus-sized refueling platform seems to be on collapsed north
  section in unit 3. Runs on track straddling fuel and reactor
  It is needed to remove and put in fuel rods. Of course all
  hot fuel rods in units 1, 2, and 3 are probably toast, and
  there is too much debris in unit 3 even if they aren't blasted to
  shreds like everybody is sure they are.
Still wondering if anyone else thinks this is more like a jet of steam venting than a more diffuse cloud of steam rising from a pool of hot water.
If the orientation is correct as per jensjakob’s observation, post #576, could this jet of steam be from the region of the "cattle chute" transfer channel between the SPF to the left and the region of the reactor vessel on the right?
Very interesting in light of minerva’s post #588 regarding the pump and seal failure on the gate as a potential source for leakage of the fuel in the SFP.
Could water leakage from the SFP into the reactor containment contribute to a steam explosion upward out of the reactor containment, from around the outside of the reactor vessel, and if not blowing the plug, then perhaps blowing out the gates on the chute? Might it then also blow out a good portion of what was in the SFP as well as the the roof over the SFP, leaving a residual venting steam leak from the gate region, but leaving the reactor vessel intact?
What else might have resulted in the very different, vertical blast dynamic at unit 3 if the reactor vessel is still intact and venting steam?
Whatever blew vertical should have at least blown a hole through the roof, if not blowing the roof off completely, as well as blowing the side panels outward. The only obvious candidate for a hole in the roof looks, after the subsequent collapse, to be over the region of the SFP. Could a sidewise and upward blast out of the gate and upward out of the SFP blown out 3 walls with the wall opposite the pool and reactor gate being spared, then collapsing inward, together with what was left of the roof?
It looks like at least two layers of steel girders have collapsed over the region of the reactor at unit three. One is a portion of the roof, I believe. The other is diagonally oriented with respect to the roof girders and appears to be part of the upper wall structure over the reactor area, but if so, it appears to me it would have had to have fallen inward rather than being blasted outward.
What is the significance of two fuel cask transfer trucks out back of unit 3? Were they likely to have been uploading or downloading fuel?
So many questions. So few answers.
Here’s a wonderful shot of sunlight streaming into Unit 3. Which is BAD if you consider there ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ANY WINDOWS. Of course, blowing out a wall is bound to improve the view. Oh, TEPCO has reported a 60-ish worker died after collapsing. No radiation, but it’s still a worksite death. So much for that sign “XX” days since the last injury. Reminds me of the “XX” days since the last serious onsite radiation leakage sign when I interviewed at Los Alamos labs
Sunlight on ground floor unit 3 (TEPCO)
Here’s a TEPCO shot of the crane under the collapsed roof of unit #1. Green refuel platform is probably under it just like #4. No way that will ever work again.
Crane #1
Crane #1
May 15 reactor core status presentation says essentially all the fuel melted within hours of the tsunami and fell to the bottom of the pressure cooker. The good news is that based on temperature readings they don’t think it’s melted through to the concrete containment (which what I though the news reports said it did) so we shall see. Since it’s cool (well if you can call 100-120C cool, that’s boiling water 100C=boiling away into the atmosphere) it’s “not likely” to do the large scale releases like it was when it was melting down. However they have still not mentioned without a roof, crane or vent ducts, they have no way to control radioactivity released into the air, they have no way to stop leaks into the ground or water, and no way to open up the reactor core to have a look inside as they did in Three Mile Island. They have also never mentioned that the Mark I’s so-called containment lacks the big concrete dome of TMI and the Mark III. Though a boom as big as #3 probably would have blown such a containment like a balloon given it cracked and blew out wall pillars several feet thick.

Gunderson’s not-so-rosy Report

Here is Gunderson’s latest May 13th update, and I’m sorry to say I think he’s right
He says the upside down light bulb massive steel/concrete containments, not just the pressure cooker part, are leaking water. The ground has shift downwards a lot so the concrete foundations must be cracked. Most of the water they’ve poured in the reactors has either turned to steam or gone into the ground, and there is not even a plan to stop either kind of leak. Even if they could capture the water, there is no technology that can clean up or store that much nuke water. People somehow managed to replace the water meters, but I can’t imagine they sent somebody into the “drywell” to tack sensors on the pressure cooker rpv, and that told them it was basically dry, and situation is probably same or worse in 2 or 3. Unit 3 has temperature above boiling and low (near normal air pressure) which means it’s probably being cooled by !@# air, which is bad. Remember a pressure cooker works because water boils at a higher temperature under pressure (you know you could cook a LOT of chickens really fast in these things when they work…) Like I said, the unit 3 pool doesn’t look much different than if it had a “prompt critical” explosion which broke everything into the junk pile the cameras saw, he didn’t mention the “experts” are sure the fuel rods are probably just fine under all that crap. Pool 4 does look fine (you can read the numbers and see all the handles) BUT THE BUILDING IS LEANING AND COULD COLLAPSE IF YOU SNEEZED AT IT. So they need to prop it up somehow. That would be a hell of a mess to clean up.

The Three Explosion Theory

Here’s the big boom at #3 again. The very first thing is that the roof actually goes down a little bit. Then you see a bright yellow flash at the upper right corner above the fuel pool, but at the exact same instant also a big black cloud coming out of the left – that’s where the top floor and next building completely collapsed. The other thing is that when the cloud hits the top of the tower level, it looks like an airburst ball, like when they dropped bombs from the air and exploded at midair, but this one is travelling up. It’s not a mushroom going up, but a ball which means things went boom in all directions up and down, about the size of the building. So maybe what happened is that the hydrogen explosion started downstairs, taking out the north west corner. This set off a second explosion above or in the fuel storage pool, sending some enough fuel into the air to go critical and burst (that would be a third explosion) as it was traveling out of the pool. This might explain why the pool was not blown to bits, but the roof section above it was blasted, and you see what looks like an air burst about 100 ft above the old roof. The tower is 100 m/ 300 ft high, the reactor roof about 50m. I think the north and south walls are not as strong as they are not stressed to hold the cranes as are the east and west wall, so they blew out first – you can see a black cloud going directly north, but it slows down rapidly, so you’re looking at a pressure explosion, not a lot of material. You can see on the top floor the relatively light vent ducts are still there, so they were inside the high pressure area that pushed out the walls. The concrete walls are reinforced just enough that I believe that when they were pushed out they also pulled on the meter-thick pillars to snap because of the massive pressure rather than a direct impact like at the Pentagon. Even the advanced BWR containments have walls like this one, The walls were not stressed to survive a hydrogen explosion, some engineer out there can probably figure out how big a boom it takes to blow out the walls and take out a few pillars. If there are THREE booms on the soundtrack, that would support this theory.
I also checked the movement of the cloud. It reaches the tower height of 300 ft / 100 m in the first second, that’s about 200 MPH. It takes about 10 sec to reach the top of the frame which is about 1000 ft, and stuff starts falling back down at about 600 ft. Gravity slows down objects at 10 meters per second / per second, but air resistance slow things down faster. The big rug of a roof are not as aerodynamic as uranium pellets which Gunderson theorized had to be supersonic to be carried off two miles. Now (5/17) TEPCO theorizes hydrogen might have been carried into unit 4 from unit 3, but the stack is between the two buildings and would have vented hydrogen up, and the #3 connection was destroyed in the explosion which did not trigger an explosion in #4.

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